MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– The West Virginia University baseball team opened its doubleheader against Furman with an 8-6 loss early Sunday afternoon at Monongalia County Ballpark.
After the Mountaineers (16-13) came back with three runs in the seventh inning to take a 6-4 lead, the Paladins (13-17) rallied with four runs in the top of the ninth for the victory.
WVU scored six runs on seven hits with 14 runners left on base. Furman scored eight runs on nine hits with eight runners stranded. Both teams recorded three errors, which led to two unearned runs for the Mountaineers and one for Furman.
Junior designated hitter Shaun Wood hit his first home run of the season in the fourth inning and added a sacrifice fly to drive in two runs on the day. Freshman left fielder Kyle Gray was 3-3 at the plate with two walks and an RBI.
On the mound, senior Ross Vance pitched into the ninth inning and allowed six runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks. He allowed just one hit through the first inning before Furman scored four in the sixth.
Vance responded nicely with a 1-2-3 seventh and allowed just a hit in the eighth. After allowing the first two runners in the ninth inning to reach base, he was replaced by senior BlakeSmith, who suffered the loss.
West Virginia got on the board with a pair of runs in the third inning.
The inning began with back-to-back walks and a failed pickoff attempt put runners at the corners with one out. Freshman right fielder Darius Hill followed with a sacrifice fly to score Gray, and junior Jackson Cramer reached on a fielding error, which scored sophomore Kyle Davis.
Hill’s sacrifice fly drove in his team-leading 21st run of the season.
Vance followed with a 1-2-3 fourth inning, and Wood’s home run in the fourth gave the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead.
The Paladins scored four in the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead. Furman had five hits, a walk and a hit batter to gain the lead off of Vance before a lineout ended the inning with the bases loaded.
After Vance shut down Furman in order in the top of the seventh, the Mountaineers answered with three run seventh to regain the lead.
WVU benefited from five walks and just one hit in the inning. A wild pitch scored one run, Wood’s sacrifice fly scored another before Gray singled home the final run of the inning.
In the ninth inning, Furman scored four runs to pull ahead, 8-6. Vance began the inning with a walk and a single before he was replaced by Smith. Smith then issued a wild pitch to score one before a passed ball tied the game at 6-6 with no outs. With two runners on, a single gave the Paladins a 7-6 lead, and a throwing error allowed the final run to cross the plate.
Gray walked in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out, but the Mountaineers could do no further damage.
The series between the Mountaineers and Paladins concludes with the second game of today’s doubleheader.